While most laptops have a wireless communication card or WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) card already integrated into it nowadays, some of the older ones do not have this in place. If you have an old laptop using either a phone line or Ethernet or LAN (Local Area Network) and want to be able to access the net through a wireless router or access point in your home or office, then your best bet will be to install a wireless communications card into the PCMCIA slot in your laptop. Here are the steps to do just that which will allow you to ride the unseen waves of communication to the Internet.
- Purchase the card. Technically, the easier way of getting your old laptop wireless is to opt for a USB wireless communication device. This is basically a USB stick with an integrated antenna which you plug into a USB port and it will serve as a WLAN card. However, these wireless devices are only useful if you have a USB port in your old laptop. In the case that you don’t or simply want a card instead, then know that you can purchase a PCMCIA WLAN card in any computer supply store. It is highly recommended to only get brands that are proven in this particular arena of communications. Brands like CISCO, Linksys, and D-Link should be your top 3 choices in wireless network cards.
- Locate the slot. The PCMCIA of your laptop will be located either at the back or side. This will be dependent on the model and brand of your laptop. Most of the time, the slot will be covered with a dummy card. To release this dummy card, simply press inward and release. The card should unlock and eject on its own accord. Once it does, pull it out and discard the dummy card. At this point, make sure that the laptop is turned off.
- Insert the new card. To install the new WLAN card into your PCMCIA slot, all you have to do is insert it into the slot and push it all the way in. The tabs inside should lock it in place. However, when you do this, make sure that the card is inserted the right way. This means that the label of the card should be faced up and the antenna side should be sticking out. Consult the manual that came with the card for more details about this. In any case, if you need to eject the card later on, just follow the same process in step 2.
- Install the driver. Once the card is in place, turn on your laptop and wait for your operating system to detect the new hardware. Sometimes, depending on the brand and model of your card as well as the version of your operating system, the operating system running your laptop may install the driver automatically when it detects it. If that is the case, then your work is at its end. If not, then slip in the driver installation disc into the CDROM of your laptop and run the driver installation app.
Once the installation of the driver completes, the new wireless communication card will be ready for use. Depending on the operating system you are using, you may be required to reboot your laptop before it will function properly.